Thursday, November 17, 2005

Pawlenty in China Update

This is from the AP wire:

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Thursday his trip to China gave him a new
sense of urgency about how America has to get its "rear in gear" when it comes
to retraining U.S. workers to compete in the global market.

Pawlenty said America's work force can no longer rely on manual labor jobs,
which are going to China. He said workers have to acquire more technical skills.

"Strong-back jobs have faded away, and we need to prepare people for
strong-mind jobs," Pawlenty said in a lunch speech to the American Chamber of
Commerce in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce.

Pawlenty, who spent the past six days in China, said he was struck by the
pace of economic change in the country.

"I come back with a very acute sense of urgency for our country to get its
rear in gear," he said.

Pawlenty said he also became more aware of air pollution in China.
"I don't know how in the long run you have a successful economy when you
suffocate your people," he said.

He said Minnesota has the cleanest air in the U.S.

Pawlenty also told Minnesota reporters traveling with his delegation that a
high-ranking Chinese official wants to lead an investment mission to Minnesota.

Pawlenty said Ma Xiuhong, vice minister of commerce, discussed the idea
with him on Tuesday in Beijing. The trip would reciprocate the governor's
current trade mission.

"I thought it was a significant development and a promising development,"
the governor said Thursday in Hong Kong. Xiuhong told him small- and
medium-sized Chinese companies likely would be represented in the mission.

One Chinese company, Laiwu Steel, already has a major investment in
Minnesota. It owns a 30 percent stake in United Taconite, which has a plant in
Forbes and a mine in Eveleth.

The governor said developing foreign investment in Minnesota was the second
priority of his mission, behind helping Minnesota companies find ways to sell
goods and services in China. (Source: AP, Nov. 17, 2005)

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